A week with Tom.
We wandered down the towpath in the horrible bastard frozen weather and found the floating cafe, and enjoyed it; mooted going to the chocolate factory, but besides snow piling up outside the window it was £12 a head which would have really been better spent on chocolate.
He brought his hard drive and a big list of desired films, me having carefully whetted his jealousy of the internet here to absurd levels, and we pulled down… probably something like 100gb over the week. It would have been more, but a lot of them were really obscure so the torrents weren’t very healthy. I love living in the future.
I made my delicious leek and potato soup, which was delicious and did us four meals. He made his vegetarian lasagne, which was amazing (as it should be considering the outlay in time and treasure it took to make it) and also did us for quite a while. Om nom nom nom nom nom.
At one point he slammed my grill a little hard, and something in it broke, meaning the spring-loaded latch that should hold the upper grill plate securely didn’t. He dismantled it with my red revolving screwdriver, found the spring that had come loose, worried it into place again and secured it with tape. I could have done that myself, and would have had he not been here, but it’s a pleasure to see skilled hands at work. Since just about everything Tom does is working with his hands, he really is quite good at it, unlike me. My fine motor control begins and ends with touch-typing.
Jon came round and we all watched a few episodes of Generation Kill together. Because my shiny newish speakers wouldn’t work with my desktop for some reason (I always, always have problems with sound systems) I ended up setting them up in the kitchen with my busted old laptop, which worked but had the sometimes irritating, sometimes ridiculously funny effect of the sound occasionally skipping and making a horrible angry DRRDRRDRR noise, leading to regular instances of “I want you to DRRDRRDRRDRR these hajjis and that’s an orDRRRRRRRRRRR.” Which made the grim moments on occasion hilarious and the funny moments side-splitting. And hey, it gives us an excuse to watch it all over again properly when I get sound working.
So a lot of the week was spent gaming, reading (in my case), having lie ins (in his) and sketching/bouncing ideas off each other; we’re designing some Mortal Engines costumes, with helpful advice from Philip Reeve via email (which still makes me a little starstruck, heh). At present it looks like we’re to be a Green Storm city-hunting team; myself as a Stalker (armoured battle cyborg built around a corpse, as any fule kno) with dented armour stencilled all over with unit insignia and anti-city slogans in Chinese, toting a great big rocket launcher, and Tom as my spotter with a white and green Storm uniform with a spotting-scope, a sword and some sort of steampunkish rifle just functional enough to appease my gun-nerd sensibilities. We’re probably going to make it in the same way as the Blastwave costume, me going down to Worthing for a week at a time during the easter/summer holidays so we can use his university machinery and resources. Rather than being aimed at a specific convention (with their seriously restrictive rules on weapons and materials), we’re making this pretty much for ourselves (read: to show off and do photoshoots for the internet) which means wood and metal are BACK ON THE MENU, BOYS. More details to follow…
On Saturday we took the coach together to Bristol, he changing to another headed London-bound, me going home to give Oliver a surprise visit for his 18th. I did; then at quarter past seven Nick and I exchanged meaningful looks and loudly invited him up to the fish bar for a birthday dinner. Across the road from Pizza Express was his first hint that something was awry – and his last.
“So, Nick, how do we want to do this? I’ll take the right arm, you take the left?”
We grabbed him and dragged him over Regent Street and through the revolving doors. Zoe was there, just as planned, and she kissed him and pulled him up the stairs and twenty of his friends were sitting round a table grinning and shouting surprise.
Ben and Abhi were there, and later Hovercraft joined us; I gave him the long-lusted-after entrenching tool and he gave me my Valve Store merch, with a chocolate helicopter t-shirt, Heavy poster set and Saxton Hale/TF2 cards. We played with Charlemagne, listened to Oliver’s friends as they talked loudly about philosophy and reach-arounds, and good times were generally had.
£27 Valve merch
£14 new books
£10 train tickets and miscellaneous noms